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A board game of the strategic naval operations in WWII.
A board game of the strategic naval operations in WWII.
544 backers pledged $48,105 to help bring this project to life.
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Admirals' War: World War II at Sea



Admirals' War: World War II at Sea (AW) is a board game recreation of the strategic naval situation in WWII from the early months of the Atlantic war to the decisive Battle of the Philippine Sea in late 1944. All the major combat ships in the Axis and Allied navies are portrayed in the game in a simple (but not simplistic) simulation of the war on a strategic level with most of the tactical details represented by simple game mechanics. The resulting game is fast-paced and fun to play, while remaining true to history.

Much of AW has some similarity to the mechanics used in Avalon Hill's classic game Victory in The Pacific (VITP), applying a modern application to the sea wars in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. This game combines both theaters into one game.

Players familiar with these older titles will immediately notice that the map-board representing the Pacific has some similarities to its predecessor, whereas the map for the Atlantic theater has greatly changed. This was done to more seamlessly combine the mechanics of the two games, and to better reflect the nature of the Atlantic naval fighting. 

Atlantic Map
Atlantic Map
Pacific Map
Pacific Map

The original War at Sea, for all its appeal, essentially created a Jutland-like scenario using a WW2 order of battle, which never really happened. In reality it was much more a game of hide & seek. Also, the U-boats that were so central to the real war were relegated in WAS to very much a supporting role. 

This game attempts to address those issues while still maintaining most of the original system's simplicity, and minimizing special rules that apply to only one theater or the other. 

Admirals' War can be played with 2 to 4 players. The object of the game is to control the many sea areas of the map-board, thus gaining Victory Points. The player with the most accumulated VP in each theater wins that theater. In order to win the game, a player or team must win one theater and win or draw the other. On any other result, the game is a draw.


If you would like to read the rules to the game, you can download them right here (note, this rule book is not finalized).

Sample Page

Midway Scenario

Contents and Base Funding

Upon making only the basic $8000.00 goal with no stretch goals, the game will be produced as a folio game, with maps, counter sheets, and rules shipped in a pocket folio and placed inside a zip-lock bag. Stretch goals incrementally improve the components (see Stretch Goals, below).

        2 x 22x34 inch map
        1 x book of rules
        3 x sheets of ship counters 1" x 5/8"  plus 2 sheets of markers and other units
        charts and tables

Japan & Great Britain
Japan & Great Britain
United States & France
United States & France
Germany & Italy
Germany & Italy
Some Air & Land Units
Some Air & Land Units

Stretch Goals

Our stretch goals will be based upon increasing the quality of the game components. We will not be creating wacky non-sense add-ons that add little to game play, but much complication and delay to production and shipping.Thus....

Stretch Goal 1 ($10,000): Old-School Scenario Set-up Sheets | ACHIEVED

Remember when games had sheets that showed the counter OBs and their setup locations, as well as all the reinforcements and special rules? Well, at this funding level we're going to do that rather than just put a list in the back of the rule book.

Stretch Goal 2 ($12,000): Game Box and Dice | ACHIEVED

Upon reaching this stretch goal we will produce the game with a box rather than as a folio. This will be a full-sized, standard game box.

Stretch Goal 3 ($25,000): Mounted Maps | ACHIEVED

At this funding level, we will ADD mounted maps, giving you the highest quality gaming experience we can provide. (But if you absolutely gotta have paper, you've got that too.)

Stretch Goal 4 ($40,000): Super-Size Me!

At this funding level, we will add four more maps that double the size of the playing surface!

Stretch Goal 5 ($75,000): Super-Size Me 2!

At this funding level, we will add six sheets of double-sized ship counters!

Why Support Us on Kickstarter?

We don't do gimmicks to get you to support our Kickstarter projects; no exclusive items, none of that with one exception: those who support us through Kickstarter (and only those) will receive a certificate with their game signed by the design team. You may ask, why should I pledge via Kickstarter when I can probably buy the game through some discounter after the game is released? Because Canvas Temple Publishing products will not be distributed to any retailer (except for European fulfillment). That's right. We will only print enough copies to satisfy Kickstarter orders, plus some extra for direct sale via our website at full MSRP (for those who miss the Kickstarter campaign). So if you want the game at a discount, this is your chance. We don't plan to keep a lot of inventory around, so once they're gone, that's it. 

Time Line for Publication

We are expecting the game to be ready to ship by September of this year. The current state of the game is:

  • Design and Development: Complete 
  • Art work: In Final Development
  • Rules Layout: In Progress Now, should complete before completion of campaign
  • Play-testing: Complete

There are many things that could happen to delay that, but we have built in some cushion. If things go swimmingly (and why shouldn't they?) we might even have the game delivered early. But as all of us old codgers know, Murphy always rides in your pocket.

 A Note About Shipping Costs

Our shipping calculations are based upon meeting stretch goals and what the projected weight of the game would be once they are met. If we based the shipping calculations on the base game build, we would simply not be able to pay the shipping costs if stretch goals were met. That is simply unavoidable.

As mentioned above, CTP Games are not being distributed; but sold directly from us. As a result, we ship everything directly from our warehouse (except to one EU fulfillment house, who will fulfill EU orders).

US shipping is based upon medium flat rate shipping.

Our international shipping price is based upon a 4 pound package (what we estimated the game would weigh if it had mounted components in a box) to non-EU overseas destinations. The USPS charge for that at the time of this writing is $52.75 first class international. 

EU shipping is based upon calculating the following 4 items:
        1. Cost to bulk ship EU orders to the EU
        2. Per unit VAT fee for that shipment
        3. Per unit shipping fee of European fulfillment house
        4. Actual European postage based upon a four pound package

In estimating the numbers, this adds up to $34.

We understand that other companies charge lower shipping amounts in their Kickstarter campaigns. After researching that, we found that they are doing this by amortizing that cost in the price of the game itself. We thought about doing that as well, but two factors stopped us. The first is that what is going to happen in a KS campaign is unknown, and each scenario we looked at had risk over certain number ranges. Because we are essentially a micro operation, we do not care much for risk. However, we also simply felt it was unfair to others to make them subsidize shipping costs that are not their fault. And that is why the shipping costs are what they are.

Examples of Play

In another universe, Hood and Prince of Wales have failed to make contact with Bismarck and Prinz Eugen in the Denmark Straits, and the German task force is headed into the convoy lanes of the Western Approaches, intent on operating in concert with a wolf pack, and if all goes according to plan, refueling from a supply ship. The Royal Navy, naturally, turns in pursuit…

The Situation – Western Approaches, Turn 2

The British carrier Ark Royal, along with cruisers Norfolk and Suffolk are patrolling (front side face up). They are reinforced by a raiding Hood and Prince of Wales (reverse side face up). The RAF is also contributing land-based air support. The Allies controlled the sea area on the prior turn.

For the Germans, Hilfskreuzer (armed merchantman) Pinguin provides a distraction, the oiler Nordmark awaits her larger cousins Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, who are both raiding (reverse side face up). Two U-Boats are ready to assist. Although both U-Boats moved to the Western Approaches during patroller movement, during raider movement one has been inverted to its raider side – in order to get a shot at Ark Royal before she can launch her Swordfish at Bismarck.

Anti-Submarine Warfare

Land-based air is worth its attack factor (two in this case) in ASW rolls, the patrolling carrier is worth three (regardless of its airstrike factor), and every other patrolling ship is worth one, for a total of 7 rolls against Hilfskreuzers, oilers, and submarines as a group. Hood and Prince of Wales are raiding, and therefore do not contribute to ASW defense.

The British score one hit (6) and one disabled result (5). These results take effect immediately. Successful ASW attacks must be applied first to Hilfskreuzers, and Pinguin is sunk and removed from play. Additional results are applied second to oilers, and the Nordmark is disabled; she returns to base. Only two British rolls were successful, therefore no U-Boats are affected.

The surviving U-Boats now hit back. The patrolling U-Boat rolls a hit against merchant shipping and immediately costs the British player one victory point. Just as important, he remains in the sea area until the end of the turn. The raiding U-Boat, which forfeits its attack bonus, scores a disabled result on Ark Royal, who although she lives to fight another day, must now return to base, before her Swordfish can launch any fateful torpedoes.

The submarine portion of the turn is complete. The raiding U-Boat returns to base.

1st Round

At the start of each round, determine the type of action to be fought. Despite the departure of the Ark Royal, the British still have complete air supremacy and prefer an air action in order to hopefully soften up Bismarck before closing with the fleet. Obviously, the Germans do not want Bismarck as a helpless target, and prefer a surface action. Each side rolls one die. The British roll a 3, which is modified by +1 for having the control flag and +1 for having an LBA unit present, for a net result of 5. The Germans also roll a 3, modified by +1 for selecting a surface action in the Atlantic Theatre of Operations, for a net result of 4. The British get their air action.

Only units with an airstrike factor may attack during an air action, so the British will be the only on rolling any attacks. The RAF rolls its two attacks against the Bismarck, but rolls a 2 and a 4 for no effect.

2nd Round

The British are bound and determined to sink the Bismarck, and since they still have the air advantage, see no reason to withdraw and announce they are staying for another round. The German, perhaps unwisely since there are no more VP to be gained, also decide to stay. This time, however, the dice go the German’s way. Using the same modifiers, the British roll a 1, which becomes a 3, and the Germans roll a 3, which becomes a 4 resulting in a surface action. Since a completely surface action has been rolled, all air units in the sea area immediately return to base for the remainder of the turn – a serious blow for the British.

The British are first in the turn order, and therefore designate targets and roll first. Norfolk, Suffolk, and Prince of Wales fire a total of six shots at Bismarck; and Hood fires four at Prinz Eugen.

The 6 against Bismarck is a hit, and the die is re-rolled to determine damage. A roll of 2 is adjusted by the Bismarck's defensive bonus to a 1, so a damage-1 marker is placed on Bismarck.

Hood rolls no fives or sixes, so her fire has no effect.

The Germans now return fire. The Bismarck takes four shots at the Hood, and the Prinz Eugen one shot at the Prince of Wales. Bismarck was undamaged at the start of the round, and so still receives the gunnery attack bonus.

The 6 is a hit even without the bonus, and is rerolled to a second 6 for damage, scoring six damage points. This exceeds the Hood's armor factor, and she is sunk. Place a sunk marker on her. The 5 disabled result is ignored. Prinz Eugen then fires her lone shot at Prince of Wales.

A roll of 3 has no effect. The round is over, and Hood is removed from play.

3rd Round

The British, anxious to sink the now-damaged Bismarck, elect to stay for another round. Since Bismarck’s speed is now 5 (6 minus 1 damage), she could not escape from any of the British ships. The

Germans therefore also elect to stay. As only surface units are present (no units with an airstrike factor), both sides agree to a surface action.

The British train all six shots from their three remaining ships on the Bismarck.

The 6 is a hit, but the reroll gets only a 1, which is adjusted downward to 0 due to the Bismarck's armor bonus. The hit does no additional damage.

Both Germans ignore the cruisers and return fire against the biggest threat, the battleship Prince of Wales, combining for five shots. Now that the Bismarck is beginning the round damaged, she no longer receives the gunnery bonus.

The 6 is a hit, and is rerolled a 2 for two points of damage. The 5 is a disabled result, and Prince of Wales is forced to return to base at the end of the round. Place a 2-damage and a disabled marker on Prince of Wales. All fire on both sides is complete; the round is over. Prince of Wales returns to base with her two points of damage, selecting England and the possibility of repairs next turn. Upon her arrival, the disabled marker is automatically removed.

3rd Round and Retreat

The British, now outgunned, elect to retreat Norfolk and Suffolk, keeping them in a single group for mutual support. Bismarck is too slow to pursue. Prinz Eugen could pursue by herself, but she would be outgunned 2:1, so the German player elects not to do so. The retreating British cruisers must now return to base. The Norfolk chooses to return to England and the Suffolk, anticipating a possible move toward the Pacific next turn, chooses to return to Suez.

End of the Turn

Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, and the patrolling U-Boat are the only remaining occupants of the Western Approaches sea area. Neither ship is patrolling, however, and U-Boats by themselves are not sufficient to claim control of a sea area. The Allied control flag from the previous is still removed, but no Axis flag is placed. The German player is awarded no victory points for controlling the Western Approaches, but he does keep the VP his U-Boat earned earlier in the turn.

Risks and challenges

This is our fourth Kickstarter project as Canvas Temple Publishing, but as individuals we have almost a century of combined board game publishing experience. The company founder, Jon Compton, has been in the professional wargame publishing business since the mid-1990's having gotten his professional start as the General Manager of 3W Inc. He has already successfully completed and fulfilled four Kickstarter projects through One Small Step. Ty Bomba and Joseph Miranda both have resumes that speak for themselves, having been editors of Strategy and Tactics and Command Magazines, and both having published games numbering in the hundreds. We have experienced just about every possible way a project can go wrong and we have overcome it. This project will be no exception.

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